“Whenever you’re feeling lonely or sad, try going to the loft on a beautiful day and looking outside… As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you’ll know that you’re pure within and will find happiness once more.” This quote, amongst many others, identify a struggle with the daunting quest to find happiness in life. These words were written by a young woman known as Anne Frank.
Anne Frank, born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929, wrote the famous diary known as “The Diary of a Young Girl” This timeless piece of literature details Frank’s musings during the time her and her family are in hiding from 1942-1944 during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands in World War II.
Frank was gifted with her diary, whom she referred to as Kitty, on her thirteenth birthday on June 12, 1942. “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support,” wrote Frank in her very first entry.
Frank, like many young women, dealt with feelings of loneliness and a desire for affection. Ironically enough, her diary serves as a touch of comfort and affection to those who read it.
On July 6, a little under a month after receiving her diary, Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret annex above her father’s office building in Amsterdam. Along with Frank’s family, in the annex hid another family, whose son Frank grew a fondness for in such close quarters.
During her two years in hiding, Frank wrote on themes of womanhood, sexuality, soul-searching and introspection. Despite having lived for such a short time, Frank’s views on life were so impactful. Her diary, like a mine, is scattered with gems. Her insightful gems make for wonderful reminders in a world that can seem so dark at times.
“It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart,” Frank wrote while in hiding less than a month before her family was captured.
One night after a false alarm that Anne Frank and her family had been found, Frank, after being spared developed a newfound sense of joy for life. “I know what I want, I have a goal, I have opinions, a religion and love,” she wrote, “If only I can be myself, I’ll be satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inner strength and a great deal of courage!” Frank, like every woman, had dreams she desired to accomplish.
In 1944 on the morning of Aug. 4, Frank and her family were found by the SS. Frank and her older sister ended up at Auschwitz-Birkenau and were later transported to Bergen-Belsen, another concentration camp. The typhus epidemic of winter 1944-1945 broke out in concentration camps as a result of squalid hygienic conditions where thousands of prisoners died. Frank is said to have died in late Feb. or early March of 1945, a few days after her sister.
Not even two months after Frank’s death, on April 12, 1945, the concentration camp was liberated by British troops.
Throughout Frank’s diary, she delves heavily into self-reflection and writes candidly about the complexities of human emotions. In her final entry, on Aug. 1, 1944, Frank reflects honestly on her own emotions and the difficulties of dealing with them. “…I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if . . . if only there were no other people in the world,” Frank writes in her very last sentence.
I often wonder the things Frank would have gone on to write to give back to this world had she had the chance to live a lot longer- but in spite of Frank only living to have one piece of work produced, her extraordinary writing and her genuine spirit live on. “…will I ever be able to write something great?” Frank writes to her diary on April 5, 1944. My answer: yes Anne, you will.